Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bottling my IPA

Saturday night I bottled my IPA that had been dryhopped with simcoe hops. I haven't got all the specs in my software yet, but I will and I'll post all the stats up here. It's got a nice rich amber/redish color, rather citrusy hop aroma, and still maintains a substantial malt flavor. I believe it will come in about 7.5 abv, which is appropriate to style.  The tasting was on the flat beer, before it naturally carbonates in the bottle. Natural carbonation normally results in a significant flavor change. We have a few more days at least before I can really get a solid idea of how it came out. So far, however, things are looking good!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Paper Chef 49!

Well my first entry a Paper Chef competition,  Paper Chef 49 is done!

Looking at the ingredients, (prawns, sweet peppers, fennel and Passion) I thought I would start with the esoteric ingredient first and work from there. What is my passion, in a culinary sense? What do I want to make, to try and eventually blog about? What is it that I want to share with the world? For that answer I have to look no further than the name of my blog; Brewing Beer and cooking on the BBQ. Also we have Superbowl 44  happening during this challenge, and many people are very passionate about that!  I happened to be having few guests over to watch the game, so in addition to the normal snackykins that one finds at such events, I wanted to do something a little different.
So I have my cooking method down (Grill) and one extra ingredient (Beer).  Beer makes an excellent acid base for a marinade, but what kind of beer would go good with the other 3 ingredients?  Something light, so as not to overpower the flavor of the shrimp, but something that might complement the fennel. A Belgian witbierr sounded like just the thing.  I decided to go with Mothership Wit by New Belgium Brewing. I have been enjoying it a lot lately and I haven’t gotten around to brewing my own witbier yet. Mothership Wit is a  light organic wheat beer beer that is seasoned with coriander  and orange peel. 

Keeping with these light zesty flavors, along with the history of the fennel lead me to use a mediteranian feel with the dish, using garlic and dill to finish the marinade.
I’ve seen fennel on countless cooking shows, but I’ve never worked with it before. When I got it home I sliced off a tiny bit to taste it. It’s definitely got a unique flavor profile. The way I described it is anise crossed with the texture of an onion. Much of the research suggests that it can be roasted, and from that I extrapolate that if it can be roasted, it can be grilled.
Sweet pepper is basically bell pepper from what I’ve been able to find out.
                From the kitchen dictionary at Recipezaar.com:
                                “In the U.S. the term sweet pepper covers a wide variety of mild peppers that, like the chile, belong to the capsicum family. The best known sweet peppers are bell peppers, named for their bell-like shape.”
So that makes that ingredient pretty easy to work with. Here is my final recipe:
Mothership Wit Superbowl Skewers
1 Fennel
2 Red Peppers
1 lb of uncooked, peeled, deveined prawns
18 oz of New Belgiums Mothership Wit Belgian whitebeer
3 gloves of chopped garlic
¼ cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Fresh Dill
Dash of Kosher salt
Dash of freshly ground black Pepper.
Chop fennel, red peppers into chunks. Detail the prawns, place all 3 in large non-reactive bowl. In large measuring cup combine beer, garlic, dill, salt, pepper, and olive oil and mix to form marinade. Pour the marinade over vegetables and prawns and refrigerate. Marinate at least 2 hours. Get your charcoal ready and start skewering. Cook 7-10 minutes per side.

How did it come out? Pretty much everyone agreed that the prawns were the best they had ever tasted, however the marinade didn't penetrate the vegetables as well as it did the meat. Fennel was new to everyone I presented it to, and it didn't go over great. This is primarily a carnivorous Superbowl crowd, so that it far from surprising. Overall, I felt the dish was a success. It was a lot of fun and got me thinking about food differently, and trying new things. Isn't that what paper chef is all about?

Alton Brown's top 5 cookbooks

This is too good of a resource to pass up.

In an article at wall street journal.com Alton Brown gives his top 5 cookbooks!

Alton Brown is the deity of culinary endeavors in the nerd pantheon. I need to work on getting these. I used to have access to the Joy of cooking book and found it an awesome read. I've heard about Ratio and really wanted to grab that one as well.

If you have problems with the link, here is his list:

1. The Joy of Cooking
By Irma S. Rombauer
Bobbs-Merrill, 1936

2. The Frugal Gourmet
By Jeff Smith
Morrow, 1984

3. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
By Marcella Hazan
Knopf, 1992

4. Outlaw Cook
By John Thorne
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992

5. Ratio
By Michael Ruhlman
Scribner, 2009

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cooking for the Superbowl!

I have a lot of cooking to do this weekend! I can't wait! I'm heading to the grocery store tonight to stock up.

First I have a potluck on Friday for my office. The theme is the Superbowl, of course. So I figure I will be putting the soup back in Superbowl!

Then this month's Paper Chef is up. It looks like the winner from last month's contest has selected Prawns, Sweet Peppers, Fennel, and PASSION, as the ingredients. Read more about the passion part on her blog Show Food Chef.

I was grabbing some chinese food last night while checking the paper chef ingredients on my phone. Low and behold here was my fortune!

Can't really read it can you? I know my phone is crap.. I need to invest in a better phone/camera soon.

It says, "A solid challenge will bring forth your finest abilities." However it was all in caps, so it was yelling at me. This is the proverbial gauntlet being thrown directly towards my feet! Reading about Paper Chef and getting that fortune within 5 minutes? It's fate I tell ya.

I will have the double pleasure of cooking it for my superbowl get together and inflictin... er, um, sharing my triumph with my loved ones!

And that of course is the third event! Superbowl sunday itself. I will have to fire up some coals and put on an array of goodies!

Stay tuned!